It’s time to sanction Turkey

“The EU must very seriously consider taking economic measures and sanctioning Turkey,” German Green Party foreign policy chief Juergen Trittin unequivocally states in an interview with Kathimerini.

Influential official of one of country’s co-ruling parties stresses West must make sure Turkey understands it ‘needs’ Europe and NATO, whose interests it ‘regularly undermines’ .

As for the energy crisis, Trittin believes that a complete transition to renewable energy is the only way forward and even rejects the use of nuclear energy. On the issue of the ongoing war in Ukraine, he said the EU must increase its support for Kyiv following Russian President Vladimir Putin’s recent escalation.

Recep Tayyip Εrdogan’s Turkey seems to have the double status of ally but also of troublemaker for the European Union and NATO. Greece experiences this reality most tellingly in the Aegean Sea. You expressed the opinion that the West should change its strategy towards Turkey. What is your reasoning and what could this mean in practice?

Turkey regularly undermines the common interests of the EU and NATO. It undermines the policy of sanctions against Russia, acts against international law in Syria, prevents the control of the UN arms embargo against Libya and violates the sovereign rights of Greece, a NATO ally and member of the EU. President Erdogan is only concerned with his domestic political advantage and ignores the interests of the Alliance. However, since there are no sanction mechanisms within NATO, nor is it possible to expel a member, the EU must very seriously consider taking economic measures and sanction Turkey. Turkey needs the European market and it needs the alliance with NATO. It must be very clear to him.

In your opinion, what are the mistakes made by the European Union, and in particular Germany, in the field of energy policy and how can the problem be solved? Are the Commission’s measures going in the right direction?

Dependence on fossil fuels is a fundamental problem to which most European countries have turned a blind eye. The unilateral dependence on Russian gas has aggravated this situation. For years, German industry has benefited from relatively cheap Russian gas. This dependence cannot be solved by multiplicity of sources of supply – that is, diversification – but only by switching to clean and renewable energies. We now had to learn it painfully. But now we are taking the right steps – dependence on Russian gas imports has fallen from 40% to 9%. But we must fundamentally move away from fossil fuels and high-risk technologies such as nuclear. France too must finally understand this.

What should be the EU’s objective in the crisis with Russia? Can Ukraine win this war? Or should both parties sit down at the negotiating table?

This war will also be ended by a political agreement. But Putin is clearly unwilling to negotiate anything. He is counting on escalation and his partial mobilization. Ukraine therefore continues to need our support. It must be so strong militarily, politically and economically that no negotiated outcome can be dictated to it.

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